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AC Casino Workers Demand End to Budget Crisis

6 July 2006

TRENTON, New Jersey – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Thousands of UNITE HERE members gather today at the steps of the State House in Trenton to demand that the leadership of the New Jersey Legislative Assembly approve a budget and end the stand-off that has shut down casino operations and race-tracks in New Jersey. More than 17,000 workers members of Local 54, an affiliate of UNITE HERE, have been laid-off as of Wednesday at 8 a.m.

"The working families of Atlantic City depend on their tips and wages to support their families," states Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54, an affiliate of UNITE HERE. "If the stand- off continues, many families will not be able to cover their most basic necessities at the end of the month. This will hurt not just our members but the more 60,000 workers that depend on the industry in South Jersey."

"We are deeply concerned about the economic impact that the state budget will have on our members who work in the hotels, casinos and race-tracks in New Jersey," states Bruce Raynor, general president of UNITE HERE. "Our international union joins with our local affiliates and calls on the leadership of the NJ Legislative Assembly to accept the Corzine-Codey compromise budget. Workers, both in the private and public sector, deserve a budget that puts the interest of working families first and not the political ambitions of some politicians in the State Assembly," Raynor concludes.

"All working people in NJ are impacted by this budget crisis. We are following this debate closely to see who stands up for the future of our children and who chooses political expediency," states Chris Kerber, president of the Distribution and Trucking Joint Board, an affiliate of UNITE HERE with members in central and northern Jersey. "We are here in Trenton because we understand that this budget battle is not about the sales tax alone, but whether our representatives choose to do the right thing which is to balance the budget in a fiscally responsible way. Our members understand that we must make difficult choices to balance the budget."

The members of UNITE HERE will continue to mobilize their membership throughout the state to send a message to the State Assembly to enact a budget so that workers can get back to work. They will be marching and calling their legislators urging them to end the budget stand-off and get them back to work.

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